The seeds have been planted.
Now that Vince McMahon has announced there will be a superstar shake up next week for both Monday and Tuesday nights, AJ Styles made it known where he wants to be. The former WWE World Champion told Shane McMahon and fans at the Amway Center in Orlando on Tuesday night that he plans on remaining the lead dog on SmackDown Live.
In the process of declaring his love for WWE, Styles offered the man who took him to the limit, Shane McMahon, something he did not expect – a handshake and respect. Much to the fan’s delight, it would appear The Phenomenal One will be making his babyface return shortly.
How WWE plans to book him in matches against potential opponents is still up in the air.
There has been plenty of talk lately of Styles making the jump to Monday nights. That may have ended now that Nakamura has jumped to the main roster. His appearance on Tuesday night was the signal of a new era in this business.
A confrontation between these two international stars has been long awaited. I’m interested to see whether WWE pulls the trigger on such an event.
The idea of a shakeup is nothing new. The news on Wednesday that Simon Gotch was released from his contract is a signal that spring cleaning is about to take place. This this has been a rite of passage once WWE gets past the hoopla of WrestleMania. Remember, before April, WWE announced Eva Marie would not remain on the company roster. I know we are all shedding a tear over that divorce.
More names are expected to surface as casualties of overextension and addition to the main roster. Styles however has no plans of going anywhere.
For the moment, Styles is stuck in purgatory. There is no opponent on his dance card. All of this while the company has two heel contenders for the WWE world title. Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt are now the focal point of Tuesday nights. That’s a far cry from last year where there was only one title and many superstars grasping for the brass ring. Styles deserves a better fate. I wasn’t a proponent of his match with McMahon, but now the outcome makes sense in terms of progression.
Off the top of my head, I can think of five or six opponents for Styles. Obviously, Nakamura. Orton and Wyatt must be factored in. Luke Harper could fall back into place. And there’s an outside chance Baron Corbin would fall into this category should he win the United States title.
As WWE plans for change, it can feel confident in consistency. Styles gives the company that. No matter which persona he uses, he is still the best performer this company has to offer. That helps make decisions about other performers a bit easier. Knowing you have somebody that sells his craft every night in a ring has to help the booking committee and the McMahons sleep a lot better at night.